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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
By Warren Lynch

The most important part of buying a digital camera is making sure that the one you select meets all of your needs.

Digital Camera 101

Better digital cameras uses a chip called a "Charged Coupled Device" (CCD) instead of film. Light enters the camera, through the open shutter, and strikes the CCD where it is converted to digital data before being stored in the camera's memory.

While that is the simple description, things can get pretty complicated from there.

Megapixels & Resolution

Resolution is a measure of how many pixels are used to make a digital copy of an image. Pixels are tiny dots of light that make up a digital image.

The quality of a digital camera's image is usually measured in 'Megapixels' where each megapixel represents one million pixels.

Here's how to determine how many megapixels you'll need depending upon the type of photos you will be taking and what you intend to do with them.

1 megapixel

Almost obsolete, you might still find these in cell phones, PDAs, and desktop "web" cameras. They're OK if you only intend to email pictures to other people and those people aren't going to be printing them.

1.1 to 2 megapixels

Only slightly better than the 1.0, this resolution is OK for an average 4x6 snapshot, but it isn't going to be a production quality image.

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2.1 to 3 megapixels

This is the beginning of the decent camera range. You get very good 4x6 images and reasonably good 5x7 images. These cameras are low cost and provide a good platform for beginners.

3.1 to 4 megapixels

You are qualified to say that you have a "pretty good" camera. You get professional quality 4x6 images, real good 5x7 and 6x9 shots, and somewhat decent, but not great 8x10 images.

4.1 to 5 megapixels and up

People will be saying "Hey, great pictures!". You can count on professional images all the way up to 8x10's. Of course, as the megapixel count goes up, so does the price.

If you are only going to be viewing your pictures online, such as posting them at a photo site or using them on your web pages, keep your money in your pocket and pick yourself up something in the 1.5 megapixel range.

If you will be shooting pictures that will be printed at a print house, such as for brochures, postcards, etc, then you will need at least a 5 megapixel camera if not higher. Of course, you'll also need to have a fat wallet or a lot of open to buy on your credit card because, even thought prices are steadily falling, these puppies aren't cheap!

Once you've solved the megapixel puzzle, the rest of a digital camera's features, such as lens types, storage capacity and shutter speed are pretty routine and easy to understand. You shouldn't have a problem deciding on those features.

· Registered
7,861 Posts
Thanks for that post Darrick! :nicejob :nicejob :nicejob It should prove useful for many diecast enthusiasts itching to show off their gems.

vegasracer has posted that megapixel count isn't always as important to great photos as some people think. To show you what that means, let's look at vtt's pictures taken from his 2Mpix camera.

vtt has clearly demonstrated that a 2 Mpix camera is capable of taking some very awesome pictures! Here's a link to vtt's diecast pictures (Warning to dial-up users. Big files.)

As an example, let's take vtt's original picture of his Minichamps McLaren F1 GTR. It is 353Kb and 800x582 pixels.

I've squished a picture down to 640x480, enhanced the edge definition using the "Unsharp" tool and compressed it using the software Photoshop. (I believe free software like irfanview has simliar features.)

So here's the final picture and it's only 68K in filesize. I think it looks absolutely stunning.

(Varon's Picture and Model)

Here are the details of his camera and photo technic (from vtt's thread
i'm using an old canon S100 digital camera which is definatlly not the right tool to use for these kind of pics.

it has only 2 mega pixels camera and has no manual control over exposure time and aperture , but, since i have no money to get a new and better one i'm trying to do my best with what i got.

the model is placed about 20cm or 8" infront of the lens ,i dont use flash and only use natural light (which is not always sufficient), i also use photoshop to crop and adjust the picture.

· Registered
685 Posts
Thats some really good info Darrick! thanks for posting that..as im sure alot of people would like to know these things when looking for a new camera.. :nicejob :cheers :cheers .

Another thing id like to say is that for example.. i had a 6.3mp fuji finepix S7000 which took great pictures.. but at higher full sized near 100% veiwing of the images there was alot of background noise.. now the new Canon ive bought still has 6.3mp's but the chip in it is alot bigger! which means the clarity and noise reduction in huge photo's is alot better!. Just a simple observation i made while reading up between the two :)..

I have started on some part time work with using my new camera and photoshop to enhance and process my images as most prf photogrpahers do today. Ill be going down to get an A1 sized print done for a friend of my brothers.. Will let you know how it turns out once i get it printed :).. :lol

Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I got it in an email and decided to post it as I knew I wouldn't be able to remember all of its contents :giggle
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